Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This is Doug Johnson. On our program today we:
Play some songs nominated for a Grammy Award ...
Answer a question about the Mormons ...
and report about a center for people who want to become writers.
One of America’s first and best known educational centers for writers recently celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. Thousands of people in the Washington, D.C., area have attended classes at this creative gathering place. Shep O’Neal tells us more.
It is seven o’clock on a winter evening. People are entering the Writer’s Center headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. These people include doctors, lawyers and teachers. Some of the people are retired from their jobs. Others are very young. They all want to become successful writers. They are working on books, short stories, dramas, films or poems.
These people have brought their work to be read and discussed during Writer’s Center workshop meetings. A successful writer or filmmaker leads the meetings.
Before the students leave their classes tonight, they will know more about their creative efforts. Has their writing captured the interest of others in the workshop? Do some parts need improvement? Is there a chance their work might be published?
The Writer’s Center opened in Nineteen-Seventy-Six, soon after English professor Al Lefcowitz decided to create it. Mister Lefcowitz writes books and plays. He believed that writers needed a place to gather and share their work and thoughts. Another university professor, Jane Fox, soon began to help Mister Lefcowitz establish the Writer’s Center. Under their leadership, it has become extremely popular.
The Writer’s Center offered only three workshops when it opened twenty-five years ago. Twenty-seven people attended these classes. They met in a former amusement park. Today, the Writer’s Center provides sixty-eight workshops. They take place in its Bethesda headquarters, and in other places in Maryland and Virginia. Most people attend classes once a week for six or eight weeks. The classes continue almost all year.
Some students say criticism of their writing makes them feel bad. Most, however, say they learn a lot. One woman who has taken part in workshops has published several books. She says she never could have done this without the help of the Writer’s Center.
The Winter Olympic Games end Sunday in Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake City is also the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our VOA listener question this week asks about the Church. It comes from Song Wenjiang in China.
The members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are known as Mormons. They are called this because of their belief in the Book of Mormon. Mormons believe their Church is the true and complete Church of Jesus Christ on Earth. Mormons say the Christian Church today is not the same as the one established by Christ. They believe that God re-established that first Church in modern times through a man named Joseph Smith.
Mormons recognize the Christian Bible as the word of God. But they add three holy books of their own. One is the Book of Mormon. Mormons believe it was given to Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni near Palmyra, New York, in Eighteen-Twenty-Seven. Joseph Smith is said to have translated the work from an ancient language into English.
Joseph Smith organized the Mormon Church in Eighteen-Thirty. It grew quickly. However, people of other religions did not accept Mormons in the towns where they lived. Mormons were oppressed because of their beliefs. So they searched for a place where they could live in peace and have religious freedom. They moved west, and settled the area that is now the state of Utah.
Today, about seventy percent of the people who live in Utah are Mormons. Their main religious center is the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. People of other religions are not permitted inside.
Mormons are perhaps best known for their former belief that a man was permitted to have more than one wife. This tradition was one reason other people would not accept them in the early years of the Church. However, the Mormon Church rejected this belief in Eighteen-Ninety. Today, Mormons attend religious services on Sunday. They spend at least one night a week with their families. All members give the Church ten percent of the money they earn each year.
The Mormon Church is established in one-hundred-sixty countries and territories around the world. Thousands of young men, women and retired people work up to two years in a Mormon missionary program without pay. They offer to show people of other religions how to become Mormons. Their efforts seem to be successful. The Mormon Church is growing. It now has more than eleven-million members worldwide.
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will present the yearly Grammy Awards next Wednesday. Mary Tillotson tells us about the Grammies and plays three of the songs that have been nominated.
The Grammy Awards recognize excellent musical recordings and the musicians who create them. The award is a small statue. It is shaped like the early record player called a gramophone. The word “Grammy” is a short way of saying gramophone.
Members of the Recording Academy choose the best work each year. The awards include all kinds of music -- popular, jazz, classical, country and western, rap, and many others.
One of the most important Grammy Awards is for “Record of the Year.” Critics say two women are in a very close race among the records nominated for that award. The first is India Arie for her song “Video.”
((CUT ONE: “VIDEO”))
The critics say the strongest competition for India Arie is Alicia Keys with this song, “Fallin.’”
((CUT TWO: "FALLIN'"))
Songs by India Arie and Alicia Keys are not the only ones nominated for “Record of the Year.” Other nominated songs are “Ms. Jackson” by the group OutKast, and “Drops of Jupiter” by the group Train. We leave you now with the final song nominated for “Record of the Year.” It is “Walk On” by U2.
((CUT THREE: "WALK ON"))
This is Doug Johnson . I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by George Grow, Paul Thompson and Jerilyn Watson. Our studio engineer was Tom Verba. And our producer was Paul Thompson.